Does It Matter What We Do in Private?

Nicole Headshot in blue shirt

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Behind closed doors where it’s just you, no one else. At your dining room table where conversations are shared with your nearest and dearest and not for public dissemination. The videos you watch. The music you listen to. The fetish that is private for now, but it’s growing appetite will soon put you on front street and embarrass you. The locker room conversations not meant for the board room.

Does it matter what we do and say in private? Does it matter who we speak unlovingly about? For those of us living in the “free world” of America, most would say that what we do and say in the privacy of our homes or private spaces is no one’s business. But to God, it matters.

For those in relationship with Christ Jesus, our character, actions, speech and heart should mirror His in the office, the storefront, in our homes, at the dining room table. As lights on the hill (Matthew 5:14) for everyone to see, the Christ in us should not be compartmentalized or covered. He should not be excused from certain environments for flesh to have its way.

As Voices Against the Grain and those of us who no longer wish to conform to this world’s status quo AND who desire to be continually transformed into Christ’s likeness through the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2), we can display Christ to a skeptical world. The world is dying to see if godliness is indeed possible and simultaneously seeks its impossibility. For who would give up their right to not freely exercise whatever they want to do and say?

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In my professional life of public relations, we prepare our clients with messaging and talking points to help them “stay on message” when interviewing with media or delivering public presentations. It’s hoped that these talking points communicate who the client is, what they stand for and what they hope to accomplish through their platform. Yet, away from the hot mic and cameras, what resides in their hearts may be entirely different. Thus, we’re shocked when those “differences” are recorded outside of the person’s “talking points” environment.

If you are a Christian reading this, who are you in public and in private? Do you display godly character in both environments?

As God has grown the desire in me to truly be a Christian public servant, I think often on what that means. It means that God is grooming leaders who will not reflect the current landscape of “it doesn’t matter what I do in private.” They will not have dual minds but minds solely focused on obedience to His will and ways.

Such leaders will not rationalize policies that support convenience and expediency at the risk of morality. Such leaders will exercise integrity in matters great and small, public and private. Godly character is integrated into the whole and throughout their lives. We’ve seen quite enough of the dualism. We need to see more of the principled with moral absolutes.

In serving others publicly or in private, I continue to think on Luke 16:10

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When it comes to character, the little things matter. Lord, may our living be so close to You that the talking points are no longer needed because You live daily throughout our hearts and lives. Our daily public and private living will be Christ-like and not compartmentalized. Help us Lord, to be trustworthy in character in the great and the small things so a skeptical world will be the recipients of the blessings therein. Amen.

God bless you, much love to you and trust that the transformation is worth it.

-Nicole

Nicole D. Hayes is the founder of Voices Against the Grain, a bold teaching ministry launched in May 2013. Nicole’s purpose in creating Voices Against the Grain is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amid confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.

Learn more about Nicole D. Hayes here.

 

You May Not Recognize Me

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Founder, Voices Against the Grain

For the past four to five months I’ve been in transition and transformation. Still undergoing both, joyfully and in God’s perfect peace, in spite of changes. Leaving the familiar behind and entering the unfamiliar. I’ve considered this time a luxury and privilege as I daily experience God’s unending grace, mercies and unmerited favor as He continues to shape and shed me. I began undergoing the process even before this period. Spending more time in God’s Presence, I thought I’d already shed things unnecessary and a distraction to the journey. Changes in what music I listen to. Changes in what I choose to watch on television and let enter my environment. Changes to relationships, profession and things previously familiar, mastered and comfortable.

God is shedding and shifting, and my thoughts have transformed because of. While I certainly wasn’t a conformist with society before, I am truly a stranger to it now. Simply leading a ministry named “Voices Against the Grain” pits me against a world that desires to conform with the norms. Indeed, this factor alone has placed me in some isolated spaces, but I’m good with that.

My thinking on another level is causing a separation from the familiar and the tolerable. 

Seldom are transitions cut and dry. The process can be messy and not a straight line. While the journey has presented some discomfort, I am excited and expectant for the next step. I asked God for the transition because I desire to be the highest representation of who He has called me to be. I would never become this staying in the old space. The previous space was becoming too small, too tight. Frankly, I’ve outgrown it.

Being birthed from the old and into the new space, that could be messy too. Therefore, you may not recognize me. What I’ve learned is that people are uncomfortable with the “you” they don’t recognize because it is contrary to how they’ve always seen you. But in fact, we should all hope to evolve, to be transformed and transitioned, when God has planted greatness inside us that is yet to be unpackaged. Heaven forbid if the caterpillar remained unchanged and never transformed into a butterfly; never becoming a pollinator of flowers and vegetation, helping them grow and bear fruit.

Romans 12 2 gray

In the birthing into this new space, I am grateful for the midwives God has provided me along the way. Prayers and the wise counsel of select brothers and sisters in Christ have benefited me greatly. Their value is immense.

The transition and transformation doesn’t make me better than you. I’ll still have flaws. I’ll still tell you the truth, but prayerfully with more compassion and kindness. I’ll exercise greater patience toward those who drag their feet/don’t get on board as quickly as I’d prefer.

Are you in a familiar space that is becoming too tight, too confined? Do you have the same thoughts, same ideas, revert to the same patterns with the same, tired results? To truly experience the highest representation of who God has called you to be, are you willing to be transformed and transitioned—even if it means your temporary discomfort, entering the unfamiliar, shedding old thoughts, old places and some people—and becoming unrecognizable before some?

The good news: should you embrace this journey, God is there with you! God bless you.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” -Romans 12:2, New International Version 

-Nicole

Nicole D. Hayes is the founder of Voices Against the Grain, a bold teaching ministry launched in May 2013. Nicole’s purpose in creating Voices Against the Grain is to be light in darkness, to boldly instruct truth amid confusion so as to bring clarity and restoration.

Learn more about Nicole D. Hayes here.

Don’t Be a Product of Your Time

cool-future-technology-gadgets SmallerDo you strive to be “in” with society? From the latest gadgets, designer brands, relationship statuses, higher social statuses, they want what you have and you want what they have. But if you’re not spirit-led, society will happily compel you to become a product of this age. Temptations always deliver a poor substitute for the real thing. God desires to foster self-control within His People which is a prerequisite for receiving many of His blessings.

Read our ministry founder’s Gospel Today article “Don’t Be a Product of Your Time.” 

God’s Will For You Is On-Point

Good Day! Be grateful that God doesn’t want to leave you or me the same as we came into this world! What He has planned is better than we could imagine for ourselves. We simply need to be obedient to His will and His way. Sharing with you this devotional from Minister Dracy Jenkins, our brother-in-Christ who writes for web-based Christian think tank, Freedom Squared.  His devotional and their team member writings can be found on FreedomSquared.org.  -Nicole

“Rejoice in knowing that you belong to God and that He is conforming you to the image of His Son. See every event of this day as part of that process. Yield to the Spirit’s prompting, and take heart that God will accomplish His will.” — John MacArthur

Minister Dracy Jenkins, Devotional Writer

Minister Dracy Jenkins, Devotional Writer

Romans 12:2 NLT Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Point 1:  We are to rejoice because God’s Will for us is good, pleasing and perfect!  Hallelujah!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT 16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Point 2: We are to be joyful and thankful in and through all things, because that is His Will for us.

Hebrews 10:10 NLT  For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time.

Point 3: We are to live differently than what the world says is acceptable and politically correct.  Because of Christ, we have been made holy and provided the righteousness of Christ. Which also is God’s Will for us. It is in and through the power of Christ that we’ll no longer have to conform and fit into the world’s decaying morals and values.  We can remain above it because we have been called and empowered to. Hallelujah!

Hebrews 10:36 NLT 36 Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

Point 4: Because it is God’s Will to deliver to us everything He promised in His Word, we are to patiently wait and endure the test and trials that come our way.  Our reward for following Christ and surrendering all is already reserved for us.  Its ours and cannot be taken away.  We simply need to remain focused on Christ and all that His life and sacrifice on the cross has made available for us.

Father, we thank you that your Will be done.  Nothing can stop it; nothing can change it.  We are yours and you are ours.  We praise your Holy name today and give thanks for Your Son and Your ever-present Spirit.  Thank you for loving us so.  It’s in Jesus name we pray and praise you, Amen.

-Minister Dracy Jenkins
After God’s Own Heart Ministries, and
FreedomSquared

 

Brunch and Strip Clubs

Romans 12:2- “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”  (New Living Translation)

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

Nicole D. Hayes, Creator of Voices Against the Grain

While I don’t like it, I’ve come to accept that some people wish I would leave Jesus at home, stored away in a box. Don’t bring Jesus to work, to the dinner conversation, our weekend plans, or other. His name can present a conflict of interest to the world’s ideas, if you know what I mean.

Recently, some of my colleagues were planning an outing that would serve to unite us in fun outside of work projects. They asked ideas for the outing. One colleague suggested a dance club/strip club for our outing. I wondered if I was the only one in the room adverse to the idea of going to a strip club. I’ve never been to a strip club and am not about to start now.  Besides, my dollars spent at the strip club would diminish the fact that these persons on the pole are also “created in the image and likeness of God” (Genesis 1:26), “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) and that Jesus died on the cross to free them from the pole.

Interestingly, some of the others supported the idea and one other person would stand with me on the side of values. Steering the conversation’s trajectory, I suggested the idea of going to brunch. While some nodded their heads at my suggestion, you could tell it was like telling a child to write their book report instead of egging the neighbor’s car.   🙂

Why do people want me to change who I am? My character? I’m not a shapeshifter who has one foot in the world when it suits me and others, and then one foot in Christ only when it is appropriate and going to be well-received. The following image (borrowed from Firestarter Ablaze) conveys my thoughts exactly:

Image for Brunch and Strip Club post borrowed by FireStarter Ablaze

 

Enough said. If anyone wants to join me for orange juice, eggs and all the trimmings of brunch, please do!